TAMPA, Fla. — You have cancer. It’s one of the most difficult moments anyone could face. For lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender and queer individuals, a cancer diagnosis can spark even more fear — of discrimination by medical professionals who might not accept the patient’s definition of family.

Moffitt Cancer Center is focused on respecting and recognizing all patients and their family structure, which is in part why the cancer center has been designated as a leader in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) health care. For the sixth year in a row, Moffitt has earned the Healthcare Equality Index (HEI) by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation.

“Moffitt understands that cancer doesn’t discriminate, and the LGBTQ community is just as at risk as any other,” says B. Lee Green, Ph.D., vice president of Diversity, Public Relations and Strategic Communications, and senior member of Health Outcomes and Behavior at Moffitt. “We pride ourselves on ensuring that all of our community members have access to the best possible care regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”   

The Healthcare Equality Index is the national LGBTQ benchmarking tool that evaluates health care facilities’ policies and practices related to the equity and inclusion of their LGBTQ patients, visitors and employees. The index is based on four criteria:

  • Patient nondiscrimination
  • Equal visitation
  • Training in LGBTQ patient-centered care
  • Employment nondiscrimination.

Moffitt team members participated in online trainings to help the cancer center remain a leader in LGBTQ health care.

“For the past decade, the HEI has been the roadmap to closing the gap in ensuring equal care to LGBTQ patients and their families, and we urge every health care facility to join us in this continuing effort to provide inclusive care to all,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “Five hundred and ninety facilities participated in this year’s HEI and continue this march in partnership with the LGBTQ community.” 

Moffitt is one of only two organizations that achieved leadership designation in the Tampa Bay area.

The cancer center is committed to supporting all LGBTQ people, including patients and team members. For nearly a decade, Moffitt has fostered a networking group created by and specifically for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and ally (LGBTQA) team members.

According to UCLA’s Williams Institute surveys:

  • Approximately 4 percent of the U.S. workforce identifies as LGBT
  • One out of every 25 complaints made about workplace discrimination comes from LGBT employees
  • LGBT employees continue to face widespread discrimination in the workplace with 21 percent reporting that they have been discriminated against in hiring, promotions and pay.

Unity@Moffitt, a team member-led resource group, provides LGBTQA team members a sense of safety and inclusion. Unity@Moffitt boasts nearly 100 members and offers social interaction, professional development opportunities and volunteer resources specific to the LGBTQA community of Tampa Bay.

“Moffitt team members are considered for promotions and pay raises, etc., based on their job performance, not on who they are or who they love,” explained Green. “That is the standard at the cancer center, and it’s supported all the way up through our leadership. LGBTQA team members are a vital part of our talented workforce here and that’s what makes Moffitt so successful at its mission of contributing to the prevention and cure of cancer.”

The HRC Foundation’s full report can be seen here.

About Moffitt Cancer Center
Moffitt is dedicated to one lifesaving mission: to contribute to the prevention and cure of cancer. The Tampa-based facility is one of only 47 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers, a distinction that recognizes Moffitt’s excellence in research, clinical trials, prevention and cancer control. Moffitt is the No. 6 cancer hospital in the nation and has been listed in U.S. News & World Report as one of the “Best Hospitals” for cancer care since 1999. Moffitt devotes more than 2.5 million square feet to research and patient care. Moffitt’s expert nursing staff is recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center with Magnet® status, its highest distinction. With more than 5,200 team members, Moffitt has an economic impact in the state of $2.1 billion. For more information, call 1-888-MOFFITT (1-888-663-3488), visit MOFFITT.org, and follow the momentum on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube